The room feels empty tonight.

Hello, are you still here?

Of course you are. Funny I always ask you this when I already know the answer.

Ridiculous, right?

You never leave me. Ever. You’re always there to listen to me no matter what. I guess it’s just the guilt that I kept you waiting yesterday. That I never showed up for our usual meeting. I hope you forgive me for that. Of course you will. You have a soft spot for me I know.

Is it ok if I open this window?

I want to show you something. I know it’s just been us in here all along, and it’s usually during this part of the year when we usually meet to talk. Well, I usually do most of the talking. I rumble on and on like I am doing right now. Ok I stop. I just want to show you something today though.

See that little girl sitting over there, looking around at faces singing happy birthday to her?

That’s your granddaughter.

Isn’t she lovely?

We had so much fun with her over the weekend and ooh she handled her first birthday party like a perfect host. She is really something that girl. That smile on her face is magical.

Now look, see that boy there quickly going about his first walk?

That’s your grandson. Forgive me for initially not sharing this with you (I should have) but the boy is named after you. We’re all proud of that, we foresee him taking after you. I hope you can recognise your son over there; he is crouching right next to your granddaughter trying to light candles on the cake for her to blow out. You’ll be proud of him just as I am. He’s very inspiring especially with how he handles himself amidst all the pressure. I honestly don’t know how he does it but he’s a model to me. I always go to him for advice and help. Every time, regardless of the request, he tells me “chingangu” haha quite witty if I can attest. It’s something he coined from the Zambian boxer “No Pressure Chingangu”. He has so many of such phrases and they’re well coded hahaha.

Have you seen that beautiful lady in the red dress?

That’s your daughter in law. He’s one lucky bugger your son. I mean, not only is your daughter in law adorable and but also flawlessly perfect for him and the family. She’s caring, supportive, interesting, and smart. She’s the best if I can be truly honest with you.

Hey, see that little fellow excitedly going up and down the jumping castle?

That’s your grandson too. He’s the cutest of them all. They have given him the nickname of captain (I don’t really fancy that nickname but please don’t you tell them that). I prefer your other grandson’s nickname. We call him “big guy.” Of course I gave him the name – which explains why I l love it.

But do you see that slender little girl with model like features?

That’s your eldest granddaughter. She’s impressive that one. I wrote about her last time as part of the three women I love. I’m sure you must have glanced upon it while you watched over me that time. She’s been raised right and all praise must go to your daughter. She deserves a pat on her shoulder. She’s really done a tremendous job with that girl. More mature than some people much older than her. She’s respectful, generous, and constantly happy.

Are you tired?

Oh silly me going on and on without even caring to think about you. Of course I know you’re never ever tired.

Besides, how can you be tired when you haven’t even seen your other son?

He’s over there calm and serious.

Can I share a secret with you?

It’s because he doesn’t drink beer anymore. Seriously though, he and I are pretty close now. I think since we both put the alcohol behind us we’ve become closer and tolerant of each other. I’m with him every day and everywhere. He’s by far the smartest person I know

Is that true?

Absolutely… Now here come close; I want you to see that woman over there sitting on the chair rested neatly on the walls of that house. That is her. I know you recognise her even though she has short hair now.

Doesn’t she look stunning in that black outfit?

She seems to be enjoying herself over there. I am very proud of her and I appreciate the love and respect she accords all of us. I watched her yesterday, I don’t know if she even remembers. I wanted to remind her but I stopped myself. I think she remembers you in her own way. I think we all do. I obviously have fewer memories than all of them I mean being the youngest and all that. I was still a baby when you left more than 20 years ago. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I grew up with you around. No offence to how she raised me (she did a tremendous job of it and I owe her everything) but my mind still wonders what sort of impact you would have had on me. Don’t get me wrong, if I can use a common phrase here I can say you still impact me from the terraces.

Is that the same though?

I honestly don’t know. I hope it is.

Am I making any sense?

I hope I am. I really do. It would suck to think I am just boring you with this.  But of course I could never bore you. I guess that is how I always look to you in everything I do. I can see you’re overwhelmed now.

Should we close this window?

I think we should keep it open from now on. We can draw inspiration from it. And this isn’t the poet in me writing to you, nor the writer in me. This is just the son in me writing to you after all these years to say I miss you very much dad and I wish you were here.

(My Intellect’s Loud And Noisy-MILAN)